Gov. Andrew Cuomo avoided getting asked questions about his sexual harassment and nursing home death toll cover-up scandals — by only calling on hand-picked reporters during a virtual news conference Friday in Buffalo.
Cuomo, who was the subject of a damning profile this week by the New York Times Magazine, took questions from five journalists from around the state who mostly lobbed softball questions on other topics.
The governor didn’t call on any members of Albany’s Legislative Correspondents Association, which is comprised of reporters who cover the state Capitol every day.
LCA members are responsible for many of the stories that have sparked a series of investigations of Cuomo over matters that include his handling of nursing homes amid the coronavirus pandemic and his alleged sexual harassment of multiple female aides.
Cuomo hasn’t taken a question from The Post since before it exclusively revealed in February that his top aide, Melissa DeRosa, privately admitted to state Democrats that his administration withheld the total nursing home death toll from COVID-19 from them due to a pending federal probe.
DeRosa and Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi are both involved in selecting which reporters get called on to ask their boss questions, sources said.
The Times also reported that unidentified staff members carefully screen the questions before the governor hears them.
On Friday, Cuomo was asked for details about a program to provide free internet service to 50,000 low-income students that he announced earlier in the day, as well as about coronavirus restrictions that require bar patrons to remain seated and order food.
Twice he joked with female reporters about hand sanitizer manufactured by state prisoners, holding up a sample and calling it “remarkable” and touting its “special scent.”
Cuomo promised to bring one woman a “purse-sized” container next week, before correcting himself and saying, “pocket-sized, purse-sized, briefcase-sized.”